Infiniti goes intense with revamped lineup

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Infiniti's got game these days and the performance world knows it.

Heretofore one of the more relaxed, laid-back brands, Infiniti has gone intense in one heck of a hurry, with some top-notch machinery that is guaranteed to raise the hair on the back of your neck.

Foremost among those is the all-new G35. It's one of the few that I can think of that really possess serious competition for BMW's vaunted 3 series, and this year, there's a whole new G35 for all of us to drool over.

Though the basic look of this all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive luxury car is similar to what you've been used to, the car still manages to be more voluptuous, with flanks that have somewhat more rounded looks to them. Inside, look for interesting Japanese themes, including the use of aluminum accents that are supposed to look like a Japanese textured paper.

The 2007 Infiniti.
Click photo for larger image.

Power-wise, Infiniti's dialed things way up . The 306 horsepower, 3.5 liter V-6 hits 60 in about 5.6 seconds, according to published reports, and is now faster than BMW's 330i, Mercedes-Benz C350 and Audi's A4 3.2, while still getting a respectable 19/26 miles per gallon.

Infiniti's also spent a lot of time working on the interior, and it shows with glowing white/purple illumination for the gauges, much higher quality materials and better presentation. But I'm reserving final judgment until I can drive one for a week.

The other four-wheeled bombshell in the Infiniti lineup is the M series, two highly desirable road burners that will brig a smile to your face.

The M35x that I drove clearly made my top 10 dream machines list, with a 275 horsepower 3.5 liter V-6 that is considered to be one of the finest powerplants in the world. Gas mileage rating is 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway. Base price is $44,550.

Standard equipment is extensive, including a five speed automatic with manual mode, all-wheel drive, electronic brake force distribution, curtain side impact air bags, rear seat head restraints, climate controlled front seats and power equipment.

The interior is contemporary in appearance. Beautiful unvarnished-looking wood is tastefully arrayed across the dashboard, with aluminum and chrome accents everywhere.

I loved driving this car, which leaps into action as soon as you hit the gas. My only qualm was that it was a bit jumpy over potholes and the uneven surface of Pittsburgh streets, so you are in for a bit rougher ride than you will find in other sports sedans.

I also didn't care for the lane departure warning system, which seems to buzz at inopportune times if you so much as barely touch lane marking lines on the road.

But other than that, the M35x is a driver's delight.


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